What is Time Based One Time Password (TOTP)? – Definition, and More
The TOTP process is an extension of the HOTP, which generates a unique password by taking the uniqueness of the current time.
TOTP token services depend on a physical device, rather than a telephone number.
And also, it has compatibility with a variety of applications such as Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, and password managers.
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How is the time-based one-time password algorithm work?
- The time-based one-time password algorithm uses the keyed hash message authentication code (HMAC) to calculate the time-dependent passwords.
- A secret key agreed between the user and the system to log in and time information coordinated between the user and the system.
- The Unix time, which counts the seconds since January 1, 1970, 00:00 UTC, serves as time information.
- The number of seconds rounded to 30 seconds. The algorithm generates a hash value from this rounded number and the secret key.
- It is shortened to a particular bit length and displayed using a modulo operation as a six or eight-digit decimal number.
- If there is no sufficiently synchronized and precise time information available, the authentication fails.
What is the Difference between HOTP and TOTP?
- In addition to TOTP, the so-called HMAC-based One-time Password (HOTP) is another method for generating one-time passwords.
- To generate the one-time password to the secret key, it is not the rounded second value, but it uses an event-controlled counter.
- The counter increases by one for the generation of each new password. The counter on the server also increases after each successful authentication.
- Since the counters can diverge with this method and it cannot be synchronized, and the servers generally accept a number of one-time passwords.
- Only when the one-time password is outside the window does the authentication fail.
What is the Use of the TOTP algorithm for two-factor authentication?
TOTP often used to create a further authentication feature in the context of two-factor authentication.
- It generates a unique hardware token or an app on the user’s smartphone.
- Thanks to TOTP, the time-dependent one-time password can only be used for a limited time.
- Since unauthorized persons can have a one-time password and it is valid for a short time, two-factor authentication via TOTP considers being extremely secure.
- However, the secret key for generating the passwords must not disclose to unauthorized persons.
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